Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

March 1892. Oologist 9(3): 74.

A Peculiar Bird.

On February second I went hunting on the Blue River for Birds. One of the students went along with me as I was unacquainted with the region. For two or three miles we scarcely saw anything but Snowbirds and Tree Sparrows. We then came to a bend in the river which was well grown up with timber, and here we found birds, plenty of specimens if not species. A number of specimens were secured among which was a Spinus tristis with a crossed bill. Another was secured which had a normal bill. The Winter plumages being the same. I determined the sex by dissection. The first was a female the other a male. The bird is normal in all respects except the bill. The normal bill has the commissure almost straight, curving downward toward the tip; in the cross-billed specimens, both mandibles are curved, the upper a little the more. The upper mandible is crossed to the right, which is true of the three or four Crossbills (Loxia curviros) that I have. I wonder if the same bird can cross them either way? Looked at from above, it seems that the upper mandible were merely bent to one side as the culmen lies in a straight line; but viewed from the side, the mandibles coincide past the ramus, but from there on they cross and curve till the tip of the upper is .15 of an inch lower then that of the lower. Has any one else found a similar bird?

  • Cloud Rutter,
  • Doane College, Crete, Neb.

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